The NIPSA LGB&T Group welcome the decision of the new Health Minister, Michelle O'Neill, to remove the discriminatory life-time ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood.

This ban, according to the High Court in 2013, was "irrational". The continuation of the ban by the previous two Health Ministers was unreasonable, stigmatising and discriminatory.

NIPSA LGB&T Group hope that this step forward by the Executive is a sign of things to come. There are still many inequalities suffered by the LGBTQ community. This executive, as a priority, must fulfil its obligation, as set out in Together: Building a United Community, to the development and release of a Sexual Orientation Strategy & Action Plan.

Further, focus should be placed on tackling homophobia and transphobia, especially harassment and bullying in schools and workplaces. Other priorities include areas of Health & Wellbeing, gender recognition procedures, adoption and fertility rights. More resources are required for sexual health and most importantly, the Assembly must bring forward legislation for same-sex civil marriage.

NIPSA, through the NIPSA LGB&T Group, will continue the fight for the realisation of full equal & civil rights for LGBTQ individuals.